St. Augustine, FL 32080
Finally after all these years, of hunting, moaning, complaining about the lack of good Italian food in my town I have been saved! My girl friend and foodie maven, said we had to try out a restaurant she found, that being Terra & Acqua. We made the road trip (35 mi) for me a bit further for her with hopes high. And our hopes were well rewarded, eight hours later as I write this I still think it may have been a dream, but I do have leftovers to prove it was real.
Large space, nicely designed room offer booth and table seating, bar in a separate room, and beyond that a larger room that would be suitable for a reception or large family gathering.
We sipped wine as we oohed and ahhed over the menu. I had previously seen a dish I wanted on the dinner menu and inquired if it was possible to prepare it for lunch, after checking our waiter told me that would be fine. We still could not decide.
We nibbled on wood fired bread served with a most peppery sweet EVOO plus aged balsamic and a sprig or rosemary
Finally inspiration arrived my friend decided on a Piadine, a thin, flaky flatbread originating in the Emilia-Romagna region. I was not familiar with this and after my friend explained what it was I ordered one as well. We were expecting a dish that resembled our Quesadillas but what arrived was more like an oval pizza. Crispy wood fired dough nicely risen, brown on the edges, covered with a most amazing combination of broccolini, Pugliese hot peppers, provolone, ricotta & sausage. It mattered not to me what the shape was I knew I had to have this. I do know enough about food to know there are many ways to make the same dish. I did not care if this was not folded, it only mattered that it was the most authentic Italian dish I have tasted in any of these parts. My friend ordered the Piadina Romagnola. prosciutto, arugula & stracchino an Italian cows milk cheese.
For our Primi she chose Spaghetti Amatriciana sauce of pancetta, plum tomato sugo, onion, pecorino romano, red pepper. Steaming when it arrived I was able to get a whiff and it was amazing, pasta piled high, rich looking gravy, and priced at only 12$ on the lunch menu.
Me I had to have the home-made Pappardelle con Cinghiale. I have eaten this dish many times in northern Italy, it is one of my favorite choices. I can only say this dish held up its end, it was so amazing. The noodles perfect al dente, meat large pieces of well cooked pork sweet and soft. Priced well below many inferior dishes sampled around my area.
Being too full to consider any of the richer dishes, we shared a Panna Cotta, a light creamy dish made with sweet cream and gelatin. The taste and texture will please almost everyone. This particular dish, was covered with strawberry compote plus a hint of lavender that lent a nice compliment to the entire dish.
So here is the verdict from two people who know their Italian, this is a must go spot, authentic, tasty, dishes not found on many menus in my local area. I will gladly make the trip to St Augustine to eat this food, and have convinced two of my besites into make it a lunch date next week. I hope to meet the owner to tell him how very appreciative I was to share one of his tables and food.